“To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that Christianity could radically transform someone’s character and values. It was much easier to raise doubts and manufacture outrageous objections than to consider the possibility that God actually could trigger a revolutionary turn-around in such a depraved and degenerate life.” – Lee Strobel
Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel is the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and best-selling author of more than twenty books. His classic, The Case for Christ, is a perennial favorite which details his conversion to Christianity. The Case for Christ, which was made into a movie, tells the extraordinary story of Lee’s life and his marriage.
Lee had been an atheist and a successful journalist and when his wife Leslie found a church and became a Christian. Lee thought she had lost it, so he set out to prove her wrong using his journalism skills to research the Christian faith and attempt to disprove it. What happened instead is that the facts he found convinced him that Jesus was real and the Bible is true.
But in the years in between her conversion and his were turbulent to say the least. Leslie was wholeheartedly following Christ and Lee was doing everything he could to undermine her beliefs. Ultimately, Leslie’s powerful testimony of love and grace, combined with the evidence of Christianity, led Lee to give his heart to Christ and devote the rest of his life to ministry.
Lee and Leslie are certainly not unique. There are many couples who are in the situation Lee and Leslie were once facing. If you are a Christian and married to a non-believer, Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians what we as believers should be doing. First we should promote peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15). That means simply to not pick fights with your spouse. Don’t try to manipulate or coerce them to see things from your perspective. Strive to be the one who finds solutions to problems in the marriage rather than causes them.
Second, use your actions to demonstrate your faith. Your life can be the most compelling evidence for Christianity. The most powerful “sermons” come through actions and not just words; your faith will be attractive if you’re living out a Christian example of love and grace.
Next don’t try to fix, change or judge your spouse. Just love them. The rest is God’s business. Love is the primary tool God uses to change us all. Then pray without ceasing. Prayer is powerful and it always brings results. Sometimes God uses prayer to change our circumstances, and sometimes He uses prayer to simply change our perspective about our circumstances. Pray for your spouse daily. Pray that God would help you to love him/her selflessly. Pray that God would give you strength, grace, and encouragement on those days when there is trouble in your marriage. Pray for their salvation.
- What are your obligations if you are married to an unbeliever?
- What could we do this week to be a better example of God’s love and grace?